Oil's not well at home

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

Unsure exactly what went wrong in Game 7 Wednesday, Jarome Iginla said yesterday he knows two things for sure.

One, his team needs to score more goals next year.

Two, returning to his suburban Edmonton home anytime soon would be a big mistake.

"I like St. Albert and everything but I'll probably avoid the area for now," said the Flames captain, who, like most Calgarians, is wrestling with whether it's possible to throw support behind the Oilers.

"I can imagine why some people won't (support the Oil). I'd imagine it would be pretty tough.

"My pals will give me some words of encouragement for a little while but depending on how long (the Oilers) go on I might have to hear about when I feel better.

"Then they'll start giving me the odd little twist."

The twist all of Calgary still can't comprehend is the NHL's sixth Battle of Alberta never came to pass.

While conspiracy theorists and anyone who owns a red jersey have all spent the last two days trying to explain how the team could come up so lame at the worst time, the simple truth is the Flames couldn't -- and can't -- score.

And as the club prepares to move forward this summer with or without Darryl Sutter behind the bench, it's clear Iginla's club must add finishers or expect to be finished this early every year.

"I think we're going to need to be more offensive," admitted Iginla, whose team-leading 35 goals were 10 more than linemate Daymond Langkow.

"We were able to be 20 games over .500 with defence and not as much goal scoring as we'd like. We want to score more goals and still take care of the defensive side."

Going on to mention strides made by 20-goal scorer Chuck Kobasew, Matthew Lombardi and Jamie Lundmark, Iginla says increased confidence will help them score.

He can't say it but the truth is, after Kobasew and 20-goal man Dion Phaneuf, there is no significant young scoring talent in the organization poised to develop anytime soon. And that's why Sutter needs to step down as head coach now and focus on surrounding Iginla with more soft hands.

Although most realize Iginla's point totals were low because of his increased dedication to defence, even he figures he needs to be more productive. That said, he loves the system Sutter employs.

"Personally, I'm looking for a better season next year," said Iginla, who finished 54th in league scoring with 67 points.

"I want to help the guys out more and maybe be a little more consistent. I had a tough start and there weren't enough real hot streaks where everything kind of flows."

Asked if he was frustrated, angry or shocked after his club mailed it in Game 7, Iginla said yes to all three.

"It's a pretty empty feeling after the game but, waking up the day after, it's probably even more so," said Iginla, who cited the Olympics and subsequent schedule when asked why he turned down an offer to play for Canada at the worlds.

"When you're thinking of what could have been ... we wanted to play Edmonton so bad.

"Once that was established, we could see it and how excited the fans were for it. Down the road, we'll get another chance. Better sooner than later."

In the meantime, the Oilers he cheered for as a kid are the last thing he wants to dwell on.

"When you're in the playoffs, you turn on the TV, watch games and love it," said Iginla. "I'm not quite as eager to throw it on now. I'll take a little break."

As far away from the Whyte Mile as possible.


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